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HuwB

Tour 2016, Stages 8-9, To Andorra in 9 climbs. July 9-11

Stage 8:-















Stage 9:-








Biosphere

Thanks again for the above Huw Smile

I'm looking forward to watching some stages properly this weekend.

Looking at Arcalis closely, 10km at 7% doesn't immediately jump out as a HC climb. I suppose altitude is part of it, but compared to Tourmalet being a double Arcalis the day before (nearly 20km at the same gradient) I wonder if the classification is also because it will be raced a lot harder given it's position in the stage - it will do a lot more damage?
HuwB

Biosphere wrote:
Thanks again for the above Huw Smile

I'm looking forward to watching some stages properly this weekend.

Looking at Arcalis closely, 10km at 7% doesn't immediately jump out as a HC climb. I suppose altitude is part of it, but compared to Tourmalet being a double Arcalis the day before (nearly 20km at the same gradient) I wonder if the classification is also because it will be raced a lot harder given it's position in the stage - it will do a lot more damage?


We stayed in a hotel at the foot of the Arcalis, when we went to see the MTB worlds, last year and when the Vuelta was in town.
On the evening after the stage, instead of going back to the hotel, we decided to drive to the top. We had heard that day at stage start, that the Tour was planning a similar stage for next (this) year.
Anyhow, it was the one, disappointing climb we saw that day. Much of it is little more than false flat. Only in the final kms is there any gradient would could consider calling significant.
At the top, it's just a barren cul de sac containing one ski lift and a sad looking cafe.
Els Cortals, where we had witnessed Aru begin his winning campaign, it most certainly is not.

HuwB

Today's weather:-
Biosphere

At the risk of sounding like a combined armchair general / statistician, the Arcalis profile was suited to peak Ullrich.

The 1997 top 3:

1. Jan Ullrich (GER) | 22.55, 26,18 km/h, VAM 1826 m/h, 6,77 W/kg
2. Marco Pantani (ITA) | 23.36, 25,42 km/h, VAM 1774 m/h, 6,57 W/kg
3. Richard Virenque (FRA) | 23.36, 25,42 km/h, VAM 1774 m/h, 6,57 W/kg

Anyway, there's the small matter of today to worry about first Smile
Biosphere

Some pre-race day gossip. Contador (back) to Trek

http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/c...fredo-on-tour-de-france-rest-day/
HuwB

Crash in the neutral zone. Geraint Thomas and Jan Bakelants are involved but apparently without any consequence. Embarassed
Nolte

HuwB wrote:
Crash in the neutral zone. Geraint Thomas and Jan Bakelants are involved but apparently without any consequence. Embarassed


this might just be a perception thing but this tour hasn't been big on crashes. you had morkov taking down bennett, contador crash and yesterdays banner moment but not much other crashes. this has probably contributed to the fact that we still have 198 riders in the race
HuwB

5kms to the top for Pinot and Majka.
Guess who promised before the start today, to stay and work for Contador and Kreuziger? Laughing
Biosphere

Yes. Just been looking at some TV and was surprised to see both Majka and Pinot at the pointy end. Opportunity for a long cycle ride has come up so I go enjoy that instead. Catch up tonight.
HuwB

ITV 4 speculating upon Cav being hors delay today.

Lovely scenery to watch but the racing is so TDF....
Fontfroide

HuwB wrote:


Lovely scenery to watch but the racing is so TDF....


Agree about the scenery.  But we did have  a wee escape of three strong guys, until Thibaut cracked.  Guess he fancies a jersey tonight.

Not exactly sure about the racing, but i guess you mean Sky leading the peloton forever until the last five k when someone will attack.  I suppose that is what will happen today.  And probably tomorrow.
Nolte

HuwB wrote:
ITV 4 speculating upon Cav being hors delay today.

Lovely scenery to watch but the racing is so TDF....


Latest being 23 minutes behind and classified as delai

Morkov the first retirement

Still five sky riders Sad
Nolte

Poels and froome take mountain points from majka. I'd say this was more getting in front for descent.

Bennett showing mechanic skills in replacing kelderman's wheel
HuwB

Bennett took his wheel off then Wilco got a spare bike. #Jumbofail
Fontfroide

Must admit watching Sky lead the parade for endless k is already getting old.
Fontfroide

Suddenly a reduced group.  Might get interesting.  Allez Dan Martin.
Fontfroide

Yeah right, none of you are surprised!

Pedals more than most in that position, I think he has been practising.  the rest of them are like animals caught in headlamps.

elegant?
Fontfroide

I should stuck with Froome for my FP!  Who would have guessed he would do THiS?
Fontfroide

Five out eight for the Brits!  Those French are not happy.
gerry12ie

Impressive attack from Froome on the downhill, although I wouldn't want to be within 300 metres behind him Wink Sky plenty good enough to defend this for the remainder if they so wish, and Froome plenty good enough to increase it.

Thankfully I slept until they crested the last climb, matching the snoozefest snooze for snooze
Fontfroide

gerry12ie wrote:
Impressive attack from Froome on the downhill, although I wouldn't want to be within 300 metres behind him Wink Sky plenty good enough to defend this for the remainder if they so wish, and Froome plenty good enough to increase it.

Thankfully I slept until they crested the last climb, matching the snoozefest snooze for snooze


You did miss some fine countryside though.  Otherwise, it did come off a bit like … Sky in the Tour.  Could not quite figure out why NO ONE tried to follow Froome.  Still, much will be written about this.
SlowRower

Fontfroide wrote:
Five out eight for the Brits!  Those French are not happy.


It's a "Brexit Bonus" - It's what happens when you take control and regain sovereignty.
Fontfroide

Laughing  Laughing  Laughing
Fontfroide

I love that it was only on stage eight that a rider left the race.  Fantastic!
Nolte

Fontfroide wrote:
gerry12ie wrote:
Impressive attack from Froome on the downhill, although I wouldn't want to be within 300 metres behind him Wink Sky plenty good enough to defend this for the remainder if they so wish, and Froome plenty good enough to increase it.

Thankfully I slept until they crested the last climb, matching the snoozefest snooze for snooze


You did miss some fine countryside though.  Otherwise, it did come off a bit like … Sky in the Tour.  Could not quite figure out why NO ONE tried to follow Froome.  Still, much will be written about this.


Quintana was on froome's wheel when he attacked but quintana had gone for a bottle which was the cause of the gap. When quintana realised, he discards the bottle  (nearly causing a crash as the bottle went back onto road) but froome had the gap
Fontfroide

But not only Quintana could not would not react but the rest of them, every single one.  Frozen.  To have a gap of a few metres, which is all he had when to bottle bounced, on a descent, is not a really big deal.  They just sat watching.  I think they were as surprised and shocked as we were.  Surely in the group of 15 or so there was ONE who could descend fast.  Apparently NOT.  Hard to believe.
Fontfroide

One more comment before I get on with other things.  For the first time in years, Jalabert, in his comments on Froome and Sky did NOT make a single smart ass, understated criticism of the team or the rider.  I think that descent might have convinced him finally to keep his nasty gob shut, keep his negativity for more deserving riders or teams.

Bravo, Laurent.  

PS. I am not a Froome fan, but Laurent has been winding me up for years.
Boogerd_Fan

I'd say Quintana wasn't too panicking there - 15km, Valverde in the group to pace them back up to Froome... only 2-300m to recover..

...then Spiderman replaced Froome and some crazy pedalling on the top tube later, and the gap is 30s.. every time the camera cut to Froome he looked a few CM away from a race ending wobble.

Problem with the group was no lieutenants - only Valverde (and one of the BMC, if they could decide which one is leader)... meant that it was 1v1 on the descent, and the pre-race previews saying the descent would favour a larger group over a solo rider were negated.
HuwB

Instead of going after Froome, Quintana sat up and looked around for Valverde.
Mistake.

Not that he could follow Valverde, mind.

For all the shit Sky and Froome take about being boring, they attacked first with Henao and Froome's panache saved the stage from being a total turd.
Bartali

Hugely disappointed ... i don't like Froome one bit and I would have liked to see Yates in yellow.  But ... kudos where it is due. Clearly a planned move. I didn't think that was possible, and especially by Froome.  Chapeau.

I still think Quintana will win though Wink
HuwB

Listening to Velo Club just now.
Rolland says he didn't actually fall.
So, he clipped the stone wall, but stayed on his bike.
mr shifter

What's all this, Froome chasing mountain points.
We will see tomorrow with a lot of points up for grabs. ??
Nolte

mr shifter wrote:
What's all this, Froome chasing mountain points.
We will see tomorrow with a lot of points up for grabs. ??


I think its about making way down the descent in control, at least on the penultimate climb where he and poels nudge out.

If mountain points was the big issue, poels wouldn't have been first on that one
Biosphere

Finally got to watch it. Exciting finish, but I was watching Froome between my fingers. Did not look like a safe position - I know I carry a lot of extra kg, but I would never let my center of gravity get that close to the front wheel Shocked

23s doesn't seem like much, given the energy expended, but probably of psychological benefit too. Kill them on the MTF tomorrow and they're left scratching their heads where they can beat him?
Biosphere

Finally got to watch it. Exciting finish, but I was watching Froome between my fingers. Did not look like a safe position - I know I carry a lot of extra kg, but I would never let my center of gravity get that close to the front wheel Shocked

23s doesn't seem like much, given the energy expended, but probably of psychological benefit too. Kill them on the MTF tomorrow and they're left scratching their heads where they can beat him?
HuwB

We are underway.
Half the peloton have gone up the road.
mazda

Never seen Froome with such a grin for so long afterwards.
Some random thoughts -
It sems unlikely that Froome would have been the fastest down in a pure 1v1 descent, albeit a very non-technical one.
The stage was ridden pretty hard so despite the fact there was a large GC group, perhaps everyone else was just tired out.
But mostly I think it psychological, nobody thought he would stay away, that Valverde would lead them back to him, and by the time they realised it was too late to do anything.

I wonder how bad Rollands high speed graze was (shorts and leg didn't look good). He would have been a favourite for today, judging by his embarrassed response in an interview with Flecha about his plan for Arcalis.

Contador has already consented to Kreuziger racing his own race. So we'll see Majka going for more points as well.

Dan Martin looks to have a podium in him this year. Maybe more dare I say if he retains form for the 3 weeks.
HuwB

Contador and Valerde take off, but they have Henao in tow.
mazda

Valverde still in the lead group with 3 other Movistar riders.

edit - 2 others Ancona and Herrada

Sky have their full fleet in attendance so I expect the breakway will get reeled in over the bumpy 20 km to the next climb.
HuwB

Stannard and Rowe eating into the breakaway.
Biosphere

At the swimming pool with kids. I join you later.
HuwB

Valverde done messing with the break.
They have a chance, now.
Boogerd_Fan

That first two hours were really entertaining vs. joining the live coverage now (14:00 cet) and seeing a decent sized break of 15-20 ahead by 5 mins.

Nice try from Bertie and good reading of the race by Piti to follow it. good that they let the break go though now, finally Sagan made it Smile
Bertie spending a lot of time by the team car since returning to peloton - did he get ordered back so Peto could win the intermediate sprint?
Nolte

contador quits
Biosphere

Just got back to see Contador climbing into car. Doesn't seem like he's in that bad a state.
HuwB

Biosphere wrote:
Just got back to see Contador climbing into car. Doesn't seem like he's in that bad a state.


Agreed.
Rumour has it that Yates and Contador apparently not speaking, now.

I think he quit, rather than abandoned, if that makes sense.
Poor.
Rest day tomorrow, too.
Biosphere

HuwB wrote:

I think he quit, rather than abandoned, if that makes sense.


Yes, it must be something along those lines. No doubt we find out soon enough.
HuwB

Hard to tell, but nearly all of this road is 5% gradient. The other side of town, there are some sections at 8-10%
Nolte

Biosphere wrote:
HuwB wrote:

I think he quit, rather than abandoned, if that makes sense.


Yes, it must be something along those lines. No doubt we find out soon enough.


No doubt Oleg tinkoff won't hesitate to make views heard with top billing on cycling news

Job accomplished for the day for peter sagan
Biosphere

I was expecting earlier aggression from the GC men today. Thought the bunch would be riding a higher pace.
mazda

Biosphere wrote:
I was expecting earlier aggression from the GC men today. Thought the bunch would be riding a higher pace.


Not sure if you are being ironic. Wink
Sky are not going to do anything, or let anything happen, that is different.

That's the steep bit of the Beixalis out of the way.
HuwB

This penultimate climb is grueling
A pity Arcalis isn't..
Biosphere

No irony from me. The gap was steady at 6' and then eased out to 10'. Had thought more effort to dislodge some domestiques might be forthcoming, but now I see the eye candy penultimate climb will probably do that nicely.
Nolte

Biosphere wrote:
No irony from me. The gap was steady at 6' and then eased out to 10'. Had thought more effort to dislodge some domestiques might be forthcoming, but now I see the eye candy penultimate climb will probably do that nicely.


With 2 movistar riders in the break, it was in sky's interest to let it go as big as possible
mazda

Dumoulin might finally have got away.
HuwB

Dumoulin is very familiar with the Arcalis.
Giant's Vuelta hotel is up the road a bit.
Fontfroide

While I missed the stage until 30k to go, I am refreshed to see Thibaut in the front.  Maybe he might still have something to do with the race.
mazda

I think he is feeling good, but he won't seem to commit to a big effort.
Probably more worried about Majka.

edit - did his pedal just slip ?
Biosphere

Hail at the finish. Might have blown over by the time they arrive.
Biosphere

Are we about to lose video?
mazda

Did Sky repeat the same trick with a Henao attack ?

Then Froome waits to see who has the strength to respond.
mazda

Froome and Quintana.
Nolte

Porte trying to put time into van garderen
mazda

Aru the main loser at the moment.
All the rest have come back and Mollema attacks.
Quintana has not budged one inch from Froome's wheel.
HuwB

What was the wetter?
The weather or Nairo Quintana.
Rapidly becoming Colombia's Cadel Evans.

Arcalis confirms it's status as the GTs least selective finish.

Another awful stage to go into the rest day.

Aru's failure is down to the person who fp'd him.
I pick 'em, they instantly turn into dogs.
Boogerd_Fan

A bit unfair on Quintana... it wasn't steep enough for one of his float away at tempo cos he's the lightest style attacks...

He'll be saving himself for Ventoux where it will be mins taken instead of seconds. I'm sure he'll be quite happy to see Froome respond to attacks from Mollema and Martin, and reduce some of his reserves.
Bartali

Not sure what to make of this weekend.  Was the Froome descent opportunist brilliance ora lack of confidence in his ability to out climb the top men? Personally I don't expect Froome to weak in the third week as he has in the past, so it is still all to play for.
ventoux

Missed the race today, and caught up with the "highlights"......  my high spot of the day though was reading the Observer's report of yesterday's events (on the iPad edition) - at the bottom of the piece was a lovely little graphic for today's stage, with the legend "HC - hill climb" - I nearly choked on my cornflakes!   Rolling Eyes  Shocked
mazda

Bartali wrote:
Not sure what to make of this weekend.  Was the Froome descent opportunist brilliance ora lack of confidence in his ability to out climb the top men?

Initially I thought he was getting a gap to compensate for his own descending skills. That was soon proven very wrong.
Does anyone else hold to the view that Froome sprinting for the KoM points on the previous climb was a setup for him to attack over the top of the final climb, and that having Majka in the mix was a fortuitous red herring ?

Despite seeing Mollema and Martin having a go I am slightly subdued for the remainder of the race. We are in the position of having too many GC men at a similar level, partly due to an increase in training levels and also the lack of a cull of significant numbers of riders by this stage of the race (Bertie and his 'fever' aside).
Bartali

mazda wrote:
Does anyone else hold to the view that Froome sprinting for the KoM points on the previous climb was a setup for him to attack over the top of the final climb, and that having Majka in the mix was a fortuitous red herring ?

I had [predictably] put it down to a lack of class on Froome's part, but on reflection it may well have been a really clever ploy.
SlowRower

Bartali wrote:
mazda wrote:
Does anyone else hold to the view that Froome sprinting for the KoM points on the previous climb was a setup for him to attack over the top of the final climb, and that having Majka in the mix was a fortuitous red herring ?

I had [predictably] put it down to a lack of class on Froome's part, but on reflection it may well have been a really clever ploy.


Dave Millar (I think) suggested that Froome sprinting throughout the stage for points was to create the illusion that his sprint on the final climb was again just for points rather than an attempt to get a decisive gap.

Or maybe Froome had a flashback to 2012 and thought "F*ck you, Wiggins. I'm off!" and didn't realise it was 2016 until he reached the finish.
mazda

He can't have known in advance that Quintana (or whichever rider would have been behind him) would have picked up a bottle and have both hands off the handlebars at the crucial moment.

I'm not sure whether planning it in advance, and getting fortune blowing his direction, or reacting on the fly to Quintana reaching for a bottle, is the more impressive. Probably neither and it all was indeed "just a bit of fun".
Boogerd_Fan

mazda wrote:
Bartali wrote:
Not sure what to make of this weekend.  Was the Froome descent opportunist brilliance ora lack of confidence in his ability to out climb the top men?

Initially I thought he was getting a gap to compensate for his own descending skills. That was soon proven very wrong.
Does anyone else hold to the view that Froome sprinting for the KoM points on the previous climb was a setup for him to attack over the top of the final climb, and that having Majka in the mix was a fortuitous red herring ?

Despite seeing Mollema and Martin having a go I am slightly subdued for the remainder of the race. We are in the position of having too many GC men at a similar level, partly due to an increase in training levels and also the lack of a cull of significant numbers of riders by this stage of the race (Bertie and his 'fever' aside).



regarding Mollema, it was great to see Bauke react to the accelerations and have 2 of his own too. It's a shame he put himself into the red and got dropped because of it, but it sure beats the usual style of survive in the wheels then grind to the top.

Martin was super-aggressive. Almost doing Froome's job for him! Dan martin is not going to win the TDF - but he's going to have a go at getting on the podium. Hope it succeeds, but it means Froome or whoever else is riding ahead of the group of favourites will be able to call on an ally if he is there - most important for him (and Porte) is putting time into the rest, not necessarily Froome.

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